Family of Anton Black, 19-Year-Old Man Who Died in Police Custody in Maryland in 2018, Reaches $5 Million Settlement in Federal Lawsuit Against Three Towns

This undated photo provided by LaToya Holley shows Anton Black. His heart condition and mental illness were significant factors in his “sudden cardiac death” during a struggle with law enforcement officers, according to an autopsy report. (The Associated Press)

The family of Anton Black, the 19-year-old African American man who died in police custody in Maryland’s Caroline County in 2018, has settled part of their federal lawsuit against several municipalities on the Eastern Shore.

Black’s family will receive $5 million as part of the settlement, which also requires three towns to enact systemic changes within their police departments aimed at preventing another death like Black’s, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland said in a news release.

Lawyers for the family and the Coalition for Justice for Anton Black will continue to litigate a portion of the lawsuit that alleges the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and its controversial former chief medical examiner, Dr. David Fowler, conspired to cover up the circumstances of his death.

In a statement provided by the ACLU, Black’s mother decried her son’s death at the hands of police and said she hoped the reforms outlined in the settlement will prevent more tragedies.

“I had to watch those police officers kill my son, while he pleaded for his life and called out to me,” Jennell Black said. “There are no words to describe the immense hurt that I will always feel when I think back on that tragic day, when I think of my son … I hope the reforms within the police departments will save lives and prevent any family from feeling the pain we feel every day.”

Black died Sept. 16, 2018, at Easton Memorial Hospital, shortly after an altercation with an officer from the Greensboro Police Department and two other officers from other agencies. All of the officers were white.

The officers confronted Black after a woman called 911 after seeing Black wrestle with a younger relative. Black ran, and the officers chased him through Greensboro and to his family’s home in a trailer park. The officers fired a taser at Black, pinned him down on a ramp leading up to his home, cuffed him and stayed on top of him for almost six minutes.

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SOURCE: Baltimore Sun, Alex Mann